Randolph County Quorum Court approves 2 mill increase - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Randolph County Quorum Court approves 2 mill increase

After having the same millage for decades, the Randolph County Quorum Court voted to raise millage rates for the county.

The quorum court came out of recess Monday night to continue discussions on the increase.

In November, the court went into recess on the annual millage discussion.

This year, the county is nearly $400,000 short of making their 2015 budget.

"I know it's not popular, but I feel like my job, like I said, is to come up with a budget to fund the elected officials to where they can do their job," Justice of the Peace Dale Morris said.

There has not been a change to the millage in Randolph County in decades.

In 1982, the millage was rolled back from 5 mills to the current 1.6 mills.

Even with increasing costs, county departments have had their budgets frozen for the past five years.

Morris, who said he would not approve a mill increase, had a change of heart Monday night after looking at their options.

"After going through the budget, I see no other reasonable way to come up from $400,000 we're short."

Though one mil would generate roughly $190,000, the quorum court hopes to put only one mil to the $400,000 deficit.

The other mil would help fund a needed addition to the Randolph County Jail.

A few residents in attendance spoke to the quorum court about how they felt.

"What I've heard you all say...you're not asking for enough," Don Cox said. "You're telling me that you're relying on your reserve funds to exist."

"I don't want to pay any more taxes than I have to, but it sounds like its the right thing to do," Ken Ziegler said. "It's a whole lot better than laying off people or whatever you've got to do to make drastic cuts."

Even with approval from some residents in attendance, not every justice of the peace was on board with a millage increase.

"If I could look those folks in the eye and say that we've done everything that we can do and a millage increase is the only option...but tonight, I can't say that," Steve Fernimen said. "The people I've talked to don't support this increase and I can't either."

Fernimen and Justices of the Peace Bill Harper and Keith Sutton voted against the millage but it did pass with a 5-3 vote.

Later in December, the quorum court will meet again to try and pass the 2015 budget.


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